Sens. Mark Warner (D-Va.) and Roy Blunt (R-Mo.) announced Nov. 14 the introduction of the BRIDGE Act, a bipartisan bill designed to create an "independent nonpartisan financing authority" to accompany current transportation funding. The legislation proposes setting up a $10 billion infrastructure bank. The authority would use the funding to provide loans and loan guarantees to help states and localities fund "the most economically viable road, bridge, rail, port, water, sewer and other significant infrastructure projects."
In order to qualify for funding under the legislation, projects would need to cost at least $50 million and be of either national or regional significance. Five percent of the fund, off the top, would be dedicated to rural projects (which would need to be only $10 million in size). In addition, the legislation provides that only 49% of the project could be funding by the authority in order not to crowd out private investment.
According to Warner, "The BRIDGE Act will not only put Virginians and Americans back to work, but also help to expand U.S. trade, keeping American businesses competitive and creating even more jobs here at home. The Bridge Act demonstrates our willingness to work together in a responsible, bipartisan way to get moving on important investment priorities."
Blunt commented, "Infrastructure has long been an integral part of our economy. Successful transportation systems connect people and communities, and businesses large and small, and the jobs they create, rely on a strong infrastructure network to connect with their customers. This bipartisan legislation will provide a new tool to help finance infrastructure projects, create jobs and ensure America’s global competitiveness in the 21st Century."
The Transportation Construction Coalition, of which The nation Stone, Sand & Gravel Association (NSSGA) is a member, has written a letter of support for the BRIDGE Act.